Alien Syndrome

Format: Wii

5 060138 431584
Age Restrictions: 12+
07 September 2007

Take control of Earth Command Lieutenant, Aileen Harding, as she adventures through intense sci-fi battles against hordes of unique aliens and huge bosses. With an array of special abilities and combat powers, you'll draw on quick reflexes and skill plus a wide choice of weapons, armour, and items to defeat increasingly formidable opponents...

Alien Syndrome is the new isometric RPG for the Wii, and whilst there are still not enough games on the Wii which are neither twee nor sports orientated, Syndrome does little to push the boundaries.

The game can be played in single player mode or as a co-op with up to four people playing, though there are no on-line player options. The game follows the well trodden story-line of a missing ship which has awoken something; something dark and dangerous. Into this mystery, Earth sends Lieutenant Aileen Harding, an unfortunate name as during some of the more frustrating parts of the game I found myself shouting: "Come on Eileen" much to the amusement of the family.

The game is easy to set up with the usual chance to modify your character and during game play there are a sufficient number of bigger and better guns to collect. You get the options of playing the game in normal, hard and 'I'll get me coat' levels of difficulty. I'd suggest that you start on normal difficulty just to get a feel of the controls and then crank it up, because, to be honest, single player set at normal difficulty is a dull game indeed. To help you along your way you are provided with a mobile weapons platform, which floats around helping to defend you. Just like your central character, the SCARAB platform can be upgraded. Within the game there are a number of mini games which can be used to improve your DNA.

The controls are nicely intuitive and it take very little time to get up and running. The combat system works well, though most of this appears to consist of running backwards whilst firing like mad at the slow moving and relatively stupid aliens. Like most Wii games shooting is one of the things that has become immeasurably more simple with the use of the Wii remote.

One of the things that defiantly let the game down, right from the very opening screen, is the graphics. The opening scene setting is told via a set of static pictures which are underwhelming in the extreme. It makes the game look older than it is. I'm aware that graphically the Wii lags behind the PS3 and Xbox 360, but not by this much. Even within the game the graphics let the game down, giving it an overall chunky feeling. The top down view makes your field of vision very restrictive, meaning that you can let off a shot which bounces off an unseen object and comes right back at you.

Were the game does have strength is in the four player co-op, which adds a whole dimension of fun. However, even here the game gets a little samey after a while.

Overall, although the combat system works well and, should you wish it, the game holds about twenty hours of play time, the very poor graphics makes Alien Syndrome a decidedly average game.

Charles Packer

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